Posted by: frburke23 | September 30, 2014

Thought for Tuesday, 26th Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

==================================================

Today we spent the day in Assisi, my favorite place on earth.  We celebrated Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis, where we also had the chance to visit the tomb of the revered saint.  We also visited the Basilica of St. Clare, who began an order of religious women following the rule of St. Francis.  We finished our tour by visiting the church of St. Mary of the Angels, where St. Francis’ chapel “The Portiuncula” or “The Little Portion” is located.  This also include the place where he died. 

I find his life so inspiring.  His family was wealthy and he gave up everything to follow Jesus – everything.  He heard the voice of Jesus tell him, “Francis, rebuild my Church.”  Francis at first thought that the Lord meant to rebuild the physical church he was in because it was falling apart.  But then he realized that Jesus was talking about the universal Church.  His simple life has impacted millions of people for the last 800 years.  Never underestimate the power of one person who simply follows Christ with everything he/she has!

In today’s reading, Jesus is teaching us how important it is to be single-minded in our discipleship.  We cannot say that we are with you completely, Lord, but I still need time to many other things.  We can’t put off our following the Lord.  The apostles dropped everything and followed Jesus.  What is keeping you from saying YES to the Lord?  The Lord may not be asking you to leave everything, but He is saying, “Make me the center of your life and I will give you all that you need”.

Do I trust the Lord completely for every part of my life?

Is Jesus the center of my life, or am I the center of my life?

Or is someone or something else the center of my life?

How do I need to change my priorities?

St. Francis and St. Clare, pray for us.  Help us to simplify our lives and follow you unreservedly, even if it means that people think that we are crazy.  Even if it means we lose some friends.  You are my all in all.

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke Masters

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Posted by: frburke23 | September 29, 2014

Thought for Tuesday, 26th Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 9:51-56

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.

======================================

Today was another full but wonderful day in the eternal city.  We began the day with Mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit near St. Peter’s Basilica.  Bishop Siegel celebrated the Mass and preached on the beauty of the Archangels. 

Then we went on the fantastic Scavi Tour, which is a difficult tour for which to obtain tickets in Rome.  One of the American seminarians gave the tour and explained the reasons why we believe that St. Peter’s bones and tomb are directly below the main altar at St. Peter’s Basilica.  Even though I have been on this tour before, it was a powerful moment to be in the presence of our first pope, the Rock on which Jesus built His Church.

We followed this with a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, featuring Michelangelo’s Pieta and some mosaics that are breathtaking.  Then we toured the Vatican Museums culminating with the Sistine Chapel.  We followed all of this with a relaxing dinner and of course, gelato!  Tomorrow we are off to Assisi, my favorite place on earth!  Be assured of my prayers for you on this outing to the home of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi.

Regarding the Gospel for today, I love the image that comes to mind when I read the words “he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem….”  Jesus did not take His passion and death lightly.  And although there might have been fear (he shed blood in the garden), Jesus was determined to finish the mission that the Father had sent Him on – to save us from our sins.  That was His goal and He resolved to go through whatever it took out of an intense and incredible love for us.

Take time to let that soak into your heart.  Jesus loves you so much that He was willing to endure anything for your sake.  Nothing was to keep Him from accomplishing this mission of salvation.  Wow!

And while on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus entered a Samaritan village, but He was not welcome because Jews and Samaritans were not friendly toward one another.  James and John wanted revenge, but Jesus rebuked them.  Jesus was on a mission of love and forgiveness.  He was even going to Jerusalem to save people like the Samaritans, who discriminated against Him.  He was going to save the disciples, who didn’t understand His mission and were open to violence.  He was going to save me and you, sinners though we are, because He loves us.

Take time today to contemplate the depths of Jesus’ love for you.  You may want to shy away from this kind of love.  You may not feel worthy, and none of us are.  But Jesus offers it to us freely, and completely.  We don’t deserve anything, especially God’s love, but we should repeat the words of the Centurion, “…only say the word and your servant shall be healed.”

Thank you Lord for your resolute, determined, intense love…  Just as you gave yourself completely for me on the cross, let me give myself completely to you by living my life for you.

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

 

Posted by: frburke23 | September 29, 2014

Picture of Pope Francis yesterday

September 28 picture with Pope Francis

Posted by: frburke23 | September 28, 2014

Thought for September 29 – Feast of the Archangels

John 1:47-51

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

==================================

Today was an amazing day in Rome!  After breakfast we arrived in St. Peter’s square in time for the Pope’s Mass celebrating grandparents.  We went expecting to see Pope Francis up in the window for the Angelus prayer.  We were blessed to be present for the Mass and then he drove right by us in the Pope-mobile.  He was ten feet away and everyone in the group was very excited.  I don’t have the photos yet, but hopefully I can post one tomorrow.

After that we ate a quick lunch and then went for a tour of St. Mary Major, built around 430 AD.  It is one of the four major basilicas in Rome; the first church in the world dedicated to the Blessed Mother.  This is the first church Pope Francis went to after his election to the papacy showing his strong devotion to Mary.

Then we had a guided bus tour around the city of Rome.  I have been here several times but I never get tired of the history, the beauty and the churches!  Then we went to the North American College for Mass with the seminarians and all the pilgrims who have come to Rome for the diaconate ordination on Thursday.  It was a very prayerful experience and many in our group commented on the beauty of the music – hearing so many men sing from the heart is very moving.

We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant and then prayed a walking rosary back to the hotel.  The weather has been ideal.  Tomorrow we will have tours of the Scavi, Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica.  More news to follow…

Today the Church honors the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.  The word “angel” simply means “messenger”.  And an archangel is an angel of high rank.  Throughout the Old and New Testament, God sends angels to His people with messages.

Of course, the angel of the Lord declared unto Mary that she would conceive and bear a son and name him “Emmanuel” (God is with us).  The angel also delivered a message to Joseph at the same time that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit and that Joseph should not turn her away.  The angels also guided the shepherds to Bethlehem to find the infant Jesus.  Angels ministered to Christ after his temptation in the wilderness.  An angel visited Christ in His agony.  Angels appeared at the tomb of the risen Christ.  And angels freed Peter and Paul from prison.

Angels do not have bodies, but are spiritual beings.  They sing a continuous hymn of praise to the Lord in heaven.  And they bring the Good News of the Lord to His people.  Angels are simply another way that the Lord expresses His love to us, His beloved.

During the Mass we sing the “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of Hosts…” which comes from the book of Revelation.  This is the song that the angels are constantly singing in praise and honor of our Lord.  It is during the liturgy (Mass) that we participate in the heavenly liturgy.  We move outside of time and space and are taken up into heaven.  We are at Calvary and remember the Lord’s passion and death, while at the same time, we are in heaven singing the praises of the risen Lord, who has conquered death for all eternity.  Please read Scott Hahn’s book “The Lamb’s Supper”.  You will never attend Mass again the same way.  You will never think Mass is boring after reading this book.  When you truly understand what is happening at Mass, your minds will be raised to God in heaven with all of the angels and saints.

Lord, we give you thanks and praise today for all of your angels, especially Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.  We thank you for loving us in good times and bad.  Help us to be open to your Word and the messages of your angels when you speak to us through them.  And may we one day, with all of the angels and saints in heaven, give you due praise, honor and glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

God bless you,

Fr. Burke Masters

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

 

Posted by: frburke23 | September 27, 2014

Thought for Sunday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time

MatThew 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

=========================================

Despite the fire at the air traffic control center in Aurora, we made it out of O’Hare on time yesterday and arrived here in Rome almost right on time.  The weather is beautiful – sunny, high 70’s and blue skies.  We celebrated Mass today with another group of pilgrims here for the ordination.

Then we took everyone to visit St. Peter’s Basilica.  I had a close moment praying with Michelangelo’s Pieta.  I was overwhelmed thinking about what Mary was experiencing at the moment they laid Jesus’ lifeless body in her arms.  Then we visited the tomb of St. John Paul II and I asked for his intercession to be a holy priest.  We finished off the day with a trip for gelato at my favorite “Old Bridge”.  It was a wonderful day!

The Gospel for this Sunday reminds me of the Gospel last week in which Jesus paid the one who worked the whole day the same amount as the one who had only worked one hour.  Jesus’ ways are not our ways.  Can He not be generous with His gifts and grace?

This Sunday we are surprised in another way.  Jesus tells the chief priests and elders that prostitutes and tax collectors were entering heaven before them because they changed their lives after encountering Christ.  The religious leaders were self-righteous and did not change their ways.  In other words, a “religious” man can live a very public life seemingly following Jesus, but if their hearts are not changed, they can be denied heaven.  And public sinners who change their lives after encountering Christ can live forever in heaven. 

It doesn’t seem fair!  Like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son, we think we deserve heaven by our exterior actions.  However, Jesus wants our hearts.

Have you encountered the living Christ?

Has your heart been changed by Him?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | September 26, 2014

Thought for Friday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

======================================================

I am leaving for Rome today (Friday) for the ordination of Paul Solomon to the diaconate.  His ordination is on October 2 in St. Peter’s Basilica.  Be assured of my prayers for you.  Please pray for our safe travels as about 30 pilgrims will be going with us on the journey.  I will try to continue the thoughts for the day from Rome, giving you updates of our pilgrimage (time permitting).

Imagine what this moment must have been like for Jesus.  He has been teaching, healing, loving and challenging the people for a few years.  People have come to hear Him.  Some have followed Him; others have left Him.

Today we have the scene of Jesus praying in solitude.  This is where Jesus would go when He needed to be filled and to prepare Himself for what was ahead.  He was so connected to the Father in prayer. 

The Father is preparing Jesus for crucifixion and death.  Jesus humbly asks the disciples, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”  In other words, He wonders, “After all of this, how do people see me?”  He was not worried about becoming popular.  He was not an ego-maniac.  He simply wanted to bring everyone back to the Father. 

Some probably saw Jesus as a magician, an amazing teacher or a famous prophet come back to life.  Didn’t they believe Him when He told them He was the Son of God?  His heart must have longed for their generous response.

Jesus looks into the eyes of His closest followers and asks, “But who do you say that I am?”  Do you get it?  Do you believe what I have told you?  And of course Peter speaks up for the twelve by saying, “The Christ of God.”  Peter recognized Him as the Anointed One, the One sent to redeem the world.

Jesus asks you the same question, “But who do you say that I am?”  How do you respond?  Look into His eyes.  Is He your savior, best friend, miracle worker, Son of God…?  Is He simply a nice teacher, role model or powerful man? 

Your answer to this question will determine how you live your life.

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com                                     

Here is the Spanish translation:

Lucas 9:18-22
Una vez, cuando Jesús estaba orando en la soledad,
y los discípulos estaban con él,
él les preguntó, “¿Quién dice la gente que soy yo?”
Ellos respondieron, “Juan el Bautista; otros, Elías;
otros más, ‘Uno de los antiguos profetas ha resucitado.’ “
Entonces él les dijo, “Y ustedes, ¿quién dicen que soy yo?”
Pedro respondió, “El Cristo de Dios.”
Él los reprendió y les indicó que no dijeran esto a nadie.
Él dijo, “El Hijo del hombre debe sufrir  mucho
y ser rechazado por los ancianos, los sumos sacerdotes y los escribas,
y ser matado, y al tercer día resucitado”.

___________________________________________________________
Me voy a Roma el día de hoy (viernes) para la ordenación de Pablo Salomón al diaconado. Su ordenación es el 2 de octubre en la Basílica de San Pedro. Tengan la seguridad de mis oraciones por ustedes. Por favor oren para que nuestros viajes sean seguros ya que unos 30 peregrinos van a ir con nosotros en el viaje. Voy a tratar de continuar los pensamientos del día desde Roma, dándoles actualizaciones de nuestra peregrinación (si el tiempo lo permite).

Imagínate lo que este momento debió haber sido para Jesús. Él ha estado enseñando, sanando, amando y retando a la gente durante unos años. La gente ha venido para escucharlo. Algunos lo han seguido; otros lo han dejado.

Hoy tenemos la escena de Jesús orando en soledad. Aquí es donde Jesús iba cuando Él necesitaba ser llenado y para prepararse a sí mismo para lo que estaba por delante. Él estaba tan conectado con el Padre en la oración.

El Padre está preparando a Jesús para la crucifixión y muerte. Jesús humildemente le pregunta a los discípulos, “¿Quién dice la gente que soy yo?” En otras palabras, Él se pregunta, “¿Después de todo esto, cómo me ve la gente?” Él no estaba preocupado por ser popular. Él no era un ego-maníaco. Él simplemente quería traer a todos de regreso al Padre.

Algunos probablemente vieron a Jesús como un mago, un maestro increíble o un famoso profeta vuelto a la vida. ¿Acaso no le creen cuando les dijo que Él era el Hijo de Dios? Su corazón debió haber anhelado su generosa respuesta.

Jesús mira a los ojos de Sus seguidores más cercanos y pregunta, “Pero, ¿quién dicen que soy yo?” ¿Lo entienden? ¿Creen lo que les he dicho? Y, por supuesto, Pedro habla en favor de los doce, diciendo, “El Cristo de Dios.” Pedro Lo reconoció  como el Ungido, el enviado para redimir al mundo.

Jesús te hace la misma pregunta, “Pero, ¿quién dices que soy yo?” ¿Cómo respondes? Mira en Sus ojos. ¿Es Él tu salvador, mejor amigo, hacedor de milagros, el Hijo de Dios…? ¿Es Él Simplemente un buen maestro, un modelo a seguir o un hombre poderoso?

Tu respuesta a esta pregunta determinará como vives tu vida.

¡Tengan un día bendecido!

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com  

Posted by: frburke23 | September 25, 2014

Thought for Thursday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
What profit has man from all the labor
which he toils at under the sun?
One generation passes and another comes,
but the world forever stays.
The sun rises and the sun goes down;
then it presses on to the place where it rises.
Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north,
the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds.
All rivers go to the sea,
yet never does the sea become full.
To the place where they go,
the rivers keep on going.
All speech is labored;
there is nothing one can say.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing
nor is the ear satisfied with hearing.

What has been, that will be;
what has been done, that will be done.
Nothing is new under the sun.
Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!”
has already existed in the ages that preceded us.
There is no remembrance of the men of old;
nor of those to come will there be any remembrance
among those who come after them.

============================================

Have you ever felt like Qoheleth?  Have you ever asked the question, “What is this life all about?”  I think we all come to a point in life in which we say, “There must be more to life than what I’m experiencing right now.” 

We get that promotion and it doesn’t satisfy us like we thought it would.

We win the championship and we are empty the next day.

We ace the test and the next one comes around that we don’t have time to enjoy the victory.

We spend a nice evening with friends and we are lonely the next day.

We sit in our easy chair and sense a deep loneliness in our hearts.

St. Augustine said, “My heart is restless until it rests in thee, Lord.”  The Lord Jesus is the only One that can fill the deepest desire of our hearts.  We spend our lives trying to fill this hole with things of this world – jobs, money, success, alcohol, drugs, sex, prestige, power, people, etc….  Nothing and no one can fill our hearts like Jesus.  Even our best friend or spouse cannot fill the deepest void in our hearts.  However, if we make Jesus the center of our lives, then our relationships are put in right order, our jobs are more fulfilling and everything is put into its proper perspective.

What are my priorities in life?

What or whom do I turn to when I am lonely?

What experiences have I had in which I have tried to fill my heart with things of this world?

Jesus is inviting us into a deep, loving, intimate relationship with Him.  When you feel the pangs of loneliness or restlessness, turn to Him.  Go to a nearby chapel and drop to your knees or do so right where you are.  Ask the Lord to enter your heart.  Allow Him to love you, to be the center of your life.  Allow His love and mercy to enter the deepest part of your soul and rest in Him.

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

To subscribe, go to http://frburke23.wordpress.com and go to the right hand column.  Click on “Sign me up!” and start receiving these emails directly to your inbox.

Here is the Spanish translation:

ECLESIASTÉS 1:2-11

Vanidad de vanidades, dice Cohélet,
¡Vanidad de vanidades! ¡Todas las cosas son vanidad!
¿Qué provecho saca el hombre de todo el trabajo
con que se afana bajo el sol?
Una generación pasa y otra viene,
pero el mundo se queda para siempre.
El sol sale y el sol se pone;
luego se presiona en el lugar donde sale.
Soplando hacia el sur, luego hacia el norte,
el viento gira una y otra vez, resumiendo sus rondas.
Todos los ríos van al mar,
sin embargo, el mar nunca llega a llenarse.
Al lugar donde van,
los ríos siguen fluyendo.
Todo discurso es fatigoso;
no hay nada que se pueda decir.
El ojo no está satisfecho de ver
ni el oído está satisfecho de oír.

Lo que fue, eso será;
lo que se hizo, eso se hará.
Nada es nuevo bajo el sol.
Incluso la cosa de la que decimos, “¡Mira, esto es nuevo!”
ya existía en los siglos que nos precedieron.
No hay memoria de los hombres de la antigüedad;
ni  de aquellos que vendrán habrá  memoria
entre aquellos que vienen después de ellos.

________________________________________________________
¿Alguna vez te has sentido como Cohelet? ¿Alguna vez has hecho la pregunta, “Sobre de qué es esta vida?” Creo que todos lleguemos a un punto en la vida en que decimos, “Debe haber más en la vida que lo que estoy experimentando en este momento.”

Obtenemos esa promoción y no nos satisface como pensábamos que lo haría.
Ganamos el campeonato y estamos vacíos al día siguiente.
Hicimos el as en la prueba y viene la siguiente que no tenemos tiempo para disfrutar de la victoria.
Pasamos una noche agradable con amigos y nos sentimos solos al día siguiente.
Nos sentamos en el sillón y sentimos una profunda soledad en nuestros corazones.

San Agustín dijo, “Mi corazón está inquieto hasta que descanse en ti, Señor.” El Señor Jesús es el único que puede llenar el deseo más profundo de nuestros corazones. Pasamos nuestra vida tratando de llenar este hueco con las cosas de este mundo – trabajos, dinero, éxito, alcohol, drogas, sexo, prestigio, poder, gente, etc…. Nada ni nadie puede llenar nuestros corazones como Jesús. Incluso nuestro mejor amigo o cónyuge no pueden llenar el vacío más profundo de nuestros corazones. Sin embargo, si hacemos de Jesús el centro de nuestras vidas, entonces nuestras relaciones se ponen en el orden correcto, nuestros trabajos son más satisfactorios y todo se pone en la perspectiva adecuada.

¿Cuáles son mis prioridades en la vida?
¿A qué o a quién recurro cuando me siento solo?
¿Qué experiencias he tenido en las cuales he tratado de llenar mi corazón con las cosas de este mundo?

Jesús está invitándonos a una profunda, amorosa, relación íntima con Él. Cuando sientas el dolor de la soledad o inquietud, recurre a Él. Ve a una capilla cercana y cae de rodillas o hazlo justo donde estás. Pídele al Señor que entre en tu corazón. Permite que Él te ame, que sea el centro de tu vida. Permite que Su amor y misericordia entre en lo más profundo de tu alma y descansa en Él.

¡Tengan un día bendecido!
Fr. Burke

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Posted by: frburke23 | September 23, 2014

Thought for Wednesday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Proverbs 30:5-9

Every word of God is tested;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Add nothing to his words,
lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver.

Two things I ask of you,
deny them not to me before I die:
Put falsehood and lying far from me,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
provide me only with the food I need;
Lest, being full, I deny you,
saying, “Who is the LORD?”
Or, being in want, I steal,
and profane the name of my God.

===============================

I love to read the Book of Proverbs because there is so much practical wisdom contained in these writings.  Today we hear about the importance of staying faithful to the Lord, speaking the truth, and living a life of simplicity.

When we stay faithful to the Lord, “he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”  Scripture uses many images of how the Lord cares for His faithful.  His strong right arm protects us and guides us.  That should give us great hope and security as long as we remain faithful to Him.  It does not mean that everything will be easy.  In fact, we know that we have to pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus.  But we are never alone on this journey.

The author also talks about the importance of staying away from “falsehood and lying.”  If we add things to God’s word or lie, we will be “exposed as a deceiver.”  So this means that we have to know God’s word in order to remain faithful to it.  This is a call to study Scripture so that when we speak of God, we simply speak His truth.  St. Jerome once said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

Finally, we are called to live simple lives.  When we are surrounded by riches and many material things we often deny God or our need for Him.  If we fill ourselves with the things of this world, we will not seek God.  This is a huge problem in our world today and has been from the beginning of time.  We try to fill the infinite void in our hearts that only God can fill with finite things of this world.  And these things can never truly satisfy us.  St. Augustine said, “My heart is restless until it rests in God.”

Is your heart restless?

Do you fill it with material things, lies, gossip and other things that leave us hungry and wanting?

Or do you fill your heart with the Word of God, His truth, His love and mercy?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

Here is the Spanish translation:

PROVERBIOS 30:5-9

Toda palabra de Dios es probada;

Él es un escudo para los que se refugian en él.
No añadas nada a sus palabras,
no sea que te reprenda, y se te exponga como un mentiroso.

Dos cosas te pido,
no me las rehúses antes de mi muerte:
Aleja de mí la falsedad y la mentira,
No me des pobreza ni riquezas;
proporcióname sólo la comida que necesito;
No sea que, estando lleno, te niegue,
Diciendo, “¿Quién es el SEÑOR?”
O, al estar en necesidad, yo robe,
Y profane el nombre de mi Dios.

_________________________________________________________________
Me encanta leer el Libro de los Proverbios, porque hay tanta sabiduría práctica contenida en estas escrituras. Hoy escuchamos sobre la importancia de permanecer fieles al Señor, decir la verdad, y vivir una vida de simpleza.

Cuando permanecemos fieles al Señor, “él es un escudo para los que se refugian en él.” La Escritura usa muchas imágenes de cómo el Señor cuida de Sus fieles. Su brazo derecho fuerte nos protege y nos guía. Eso debe darnos una gran esperanza y seguridad, siempre y cuando nos mantengamos fieles a él. No significa que todo va a ser fácil. De hecho, sabemos que tenemos que tomar nuestra cruz diariamente y seguir a Jesús. Pero nunca estamos solos en este camino.

El autor también habla sobre la importancia de mantenerse alejado de “la falsedad y la mentira.” Si añadimos cosas a la palabra de Dios o mentimos, vamos a estar “expuestos como  mentirosos.” Así que esto significa que tenemos que conocer la palabra de Dios con el fin de permanecer fieles a ella. Este es un llamado para estudiar las Escrituras de manera que cuando hablemos de Dios, simplemente hablemos Su verdad. San Jerónimo dijo una vez, “La ignorancia de las Escrituras es ignorancia a Cristo.”

Finalmente, estamos llamados a vivir vidas sencillas. Cuando estamos rodeados de riquezas y muchas cosas materiales, a menudo negamos a Dios o nuestra necesidad de él. Si nos llenamos con las cosas de este mundo, no vamos a buscar a Dios. Este es un problema enorme en nuestro mundo hoy día y ha sido desde el principio de los tiempos. Tratamos de llenar el vacío infinito en nuestros corazones con cosas finitas de este mundo, que sólo Dios puede llenar. Y estas cosas nunca pueden realmente satisfacernos. San Agustín dijo, “Mi corazón está inquieto hasta que descanse en Dios.”

¿Está tu corazón inquieto?
¿Lo llenas con cosas materiales, mentiras, chismes y otras cosas que nos dejan con hambre y con ganas?
¿O llenas tu corazón con la Palabra de Dios, Su verdad, Su amor y misericordia?

¡Tengan un día bendecido!

Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | September 23, 2014

Thought for Tuesday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 8:19-21

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
___________________________________________________________

Having faith is an integral part of being a Christian, but it is not the only thing.  Yes, faith is one of the three theological virtues (faith, hope and love).  And faith is primary and essential in salvation.  Yet, Jesus tells us that we have to be doers of the word to be a part of His family; we must “act on it.”  And the greatest action we can do is love, the greatest theological virtue.

The other thought that comes to mind with this Gospel reading is the popular idea that Jesus had brothers and sisters and Mary was not always a virgin.  We as Catholics believe that Mary was ever-virgin and had no other children.  Although this is not an essential teaching for salvation, it is something that we teach.  Why has this been taught from the very time of Christ?

In today’s society, the thought of someone being a virgin is ridiculed.  We sometimes project our thoughts onto others in the past and present.   We think, “How can someone be married like Mary and Joseph and remain virgins?  That’s impossible!”  But during the time of Jesus, cousins and extended relatives were often called brothers and sisters.  It is also very difficult to believe in miracles.  If we believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, is it not possible that Mary could remain a virgin forever?  With God all things are possible.  Just imagine this as a possibility and open your heart to the beauty of this teaching.

I’m also reminded of what happened at the foot of the cross to back up the teaching that Jesus had no other siblings.  During the time of Jesus, women had no standing in society except through their husbands or sons.  Widows lost all status in society.  And if they had no sons to help them, they really became social outcasts.  That is why Jesus encouraged us to help the orphans and the widows.  And that is why Jesus had such pity on the woman who was about to bury her only son.  Jesus pitied her and brought her son back to life.  Jesus might have foreseen the pain His own mother was going to experience at the cross.

At the foot of the cross, Mary was a widow who was about to lose her only Son.  If Mary had other sons, it would have been natural for them be at the foot of the cross and to take Mary into their home, protect her and provide for her.  But there were none.  Only John, Mary and Mary Magdalene were at the foot of the cross.  So Jesus says to John, His beloved disciple, “John, behold your mother.  Woman, behold your son.”  Not only was Jesus taking care of His mother by making her part of a family, but Jesus was also giving Mary to each one of us as our Mother in faith.  John represents all of us at that special moment.

So as we reflect on this short gospel passage, let us ask ourselves these questions:  Am I a person that believes in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world?  Do I put my faith into action in works of charity?  Do I believe that all things are possible with God, even that Mary was ever-virgin, someone so pure that she was destined only to bear the Savior of the world?  Do I love Mary as my spiritual mother, given to me by Jesus at the foot of the cross?

Have a blessed day!

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Here is the Spanish translation:

LUCAS 8:19-21

La madre de Jesús y sus hermanos vinieron a él
pero no pudieron unirse a él a causa de la multitud.
Se le dijo: “Tu madre y tus hermanos están afuera
y desean verte”.
Él les dijo en respuesta: “Mi madre y mis hermanos
son los que oyen la palabra de Dios y la ponen en práctica”.

_______________________________________________________

Tener fe es una parte integral del ser cristiano, pero no es la única cosa. Sí, la fe es una de las tres virtudes teológicas (fe, esperanza y amor). Y la fe es primordial y esencial en la salvación. Sin embargo, Jesús nos dice que debemos ser hacedores de la palabra para ser parte de Su familia, debemos “ponerla en práctica.” Y la mayor acción que podemos hacer es amar, la mayor virtud teológica.

El otro pensamiento que viene a la mente con la lectura del Evangelio es la idea popular de que Jesús tuvo hermanos y hermanas, y María no fue siempre virgen. Nosotros, como católicos creemos que María fue siempre virgen y no tuvo otros hijos. Aunque esto no es una enseñanza esencial para la salvación, es algo que enseñamos. ¿Por qué ha sido esto enseñado desde el tiempo de Cristo?

En la sociedad actual, la idea de que alguien sea virgen es ridiculizada. A veces proyectamos nuestros pensamientos a los demás en el pasado y el presente. Pensamos: “¿Cómo puede alguien estar casado como María y José, y permanecer vírgenes? ¡Eso es imposible!” Pero durante la época de Jesús, los primos y parientes extendidos a menudo fueron llamados hermanos y hermanas. Es también muy difícil creer en los milagros. Si creemos que Jesús fue concebido por el Espíritu Santo, ¿no es posible que María podría permanecer virgen para siempre? Con Dios todo es posible. Solo imagina esto como una posibilidad y abre tu corazón a la belleza de esta enseñanza.

También me acuerdo de lo que pasó al pie de la cruz para apoyar la enseñanza de que Jesús no tenía otros hermanos. Durante el tiempo de Jesús, la mujer no tenía ningún poder en la sociedad, excepto a través de sus maridos o hijos. Las viudas perdieron todo estatus en la sociedad. Y si no tenían hijos para ayudarlas, realmente se convertían en marginadas sociales. Por eso Jesús nos animó a ayudar a los huérfanos y las viudas. Y es por eso que Jesús tenía tanta compasión de la mujer que estaba a punto de enterrar a su único hijo. Jesús la compadeció, y trajo a su hijo de vuelta a la vida. Jesús podría haber previsto el dolor que su propia madre iba a experimentar en la cruz.

Al pie de la cruz, María era una viuda quien estaba a punto de perder a su único Hijo. Si María tuvo otros hijos, habría sido natural para ellos estar al pie de la cruz y recibir a María en su casa, protegerla y proveer para ella. Pero no había ninguno. Sólo Juan, María y María Magdalena estaban al pie de la cruz. Entonces Jesús le dice a Juan, Su discípulo amado: “Juan, ahí tienes a tu madre. Mujer, ahí tienes a tu hijo.” No sólo Jesús cuido de su madre haciéndola parte de una familia, pero Jesús también estaba dando a María a cada uno de nosotros como nuestra Madre en la fe. Juan representa a todos nosotros en ese momento tan especial.

Así que al reflexionar sobre este pasaje corto del evangelio, preguntémonos las siguientes preguntas: ¿Soy una persona que cree en Jesucristo como el Salvador del mundo? ¿Pongo mi fe en acción en las obras de caridad? ¿Creo que todas las cosas son posibles con Dios, aun que María fue siempre virgen, alguien tan pura que estaba destinada sólo para soportar el Salvador del mundo? ¿Amo a María como mi madre espiritual, que me ha dado Jesús al pie de la cruz?

¡Tengan un día bendecido!

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | September 22, 2014

Thought for Monday, 25th Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowd:
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away.”
_____________________________________________________

Has the light of Christ been lit in your heart?  Have you had an encounter with the living Christ?  Pope Francis has been talking a great deal about the importance of encountering Jesus, who is alive and well today.  This happens through prayer, reading the Scriptures, retreats, the Sacraments, and different personal experiences.

When we do encounter Christ, He calls us to holiness.  He calls us to live a life that proclaims what we believe through our words and actions.  This line from Jesus can be frightening, “For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” 

Do you want everything in your life to come to light?

We are entitled to have a private life but not a double life.   God knows everything – He knows our hearts, our minds and our actions.  The whole world does not need to know everything about us.   We deserve to have some privacy.  But none of us should be living double lives in which we preach one thing and live another way.

Does your public life match your private life?

We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.  None of us are perfect.  But the Lord calls us to be holy as our heavenly Father is holy.

God bless,

Fr. Burke

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